On Monday, 28 February, the UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP) held an opening ceremony at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo for its credited postgraduate courses on Building Resilience to Climate Change.
The intensive 4-week courses were developed under the framework of the University Network for Climate and Ecosystems Change Adaptation Research (UN-CECAR), a collaborative initiative of more than 20 leading universities across Asia; UNU-ISP acts as the UN-CECAR secretariat. UN-CECAR is committed to developing postgraduate educational and research programmes on climate and ecosystems change, adaptation and sustainability science.
The opening ceremony was attended by Mr. Kazuhiko Takemoto, Senior Adviser to the Minister, Ministry of Environment, Japan, who delivered a keynote lecture on “Japan’s Policy on Climate Change and Biodiversity”. He concluded his remarks with the final note that “climate change and biodiversity are inter-linked; ‘adaptation’ and ‘REDD’ [reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation] are a major bridge between the two subjects; knowledge sharing is a key. Financial mechanisms should be developed in a timely manner, and the UN system is expected to play an important role in addressing these challenges.”
The 2011 UN-CECAR spring courses, which will run until 25 March at UNU-ISP, cover a range of issues on sustainability and adaptation to climate and ecosystems change. Course topics include climate and atmospheric science, impacts assessment, climate and society, ecosystems resilience, risk and uncertainty, integrated solutions for mitigation and adaptation, mainstreaming adaptation into development planning, and community-based adaptation. Students also will receive practical training in the use of remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) for climate and ecosystems change research.
Each course is worth 2 credits and comprises of 30 hours of teaching time. A number of universities have agreed to allow the transfer of credits for students who successfully complete the courses. Students also will be awarded a Certificate of Completion and receive an academic transcript from UNU-ISP.
The courses are being attended by 34 students from 25 countries; of these, 14 students are registered at a university for their master’s degree, 14 are registered as Ph.D. students, and 6 are researchers or professionals associated with an academic programme on climate change issues.
The students will present their learning experiences at a closing symposium organized in conjunction with a closing ceremony on Friday, 25 March.